Exhibition Description


Ryan Standfest
I went to work but I did not get there
January 11 – February 22, 2020

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Simone DeSousa EDITION is pleased to present I went to work but I did not get there, a special feature of new works by Ryan Standfest.

“In my work, unrequited yearning for progress collides with more complex realities in which failure undermines expectation and shifts centers of power in an absurd cycle of hyped aspiration and subsequent deflation. These polarities necessitate social critique with the question of who is allowed to access dreams of fulfillment and what that yields. I return to a very particular convoluted working class inclination toward longing undercut by repulsion: the need for upward mobility combined with a distrust of what that success gains access to.

My enthusiasm for obsolete print ephemera such as comic strips, tabloid newspapers, postcards, catalogs, manuals and advertisements, is intended to highlight the fugitive value of authoritative cultural currency as it advertises our vision of the ideal.”

Ryan Standfest was born in Detroit and earned an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Iowa. Since 2010, he has been the editor and publisher of Rotland Press, which presents satirical publications of a culturally relevant nature. The press was recognized by Art In America in 2016 for publishing a project on the painter Peter Williams, as being one of the top five “significant artworks” to emerge from Detroit in that year. His publications and prints are in numerous collections, including The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson & Burnham Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Prints and Photographs Department, and the Harvard University Library. Standfest has exhibited his work nationally and abroad, most recently at Wayne State University, Detroit, the Mike Kelly Mobile Homestead at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the International Print Center of New York, the Association Les Abattoirs in Riom, France and Eastern Michigan University.